Following London’s first art studio with integrated childcare, where children are welcome into the working space; the Mother House is now piloting in Stroud...
The Mother House studio model is the brainchild of Dyana Gravina from Procreate Project. Stroud based artists Sharon Bennett and Rebecca Stapleford decided to collaborate on this very ambitious project leading the way for a better future for women artists in the Gloucestershire area.
The Mother House started in London in September last year to provide the freedom to work independently or alongside your children also encouraging opportunities to work in collaboration with other artists creating a supportive and inspiring network.
“Motherhouse has been hugely significant to me. Being a full time at home mother for two small children (and having moved country twice in two years), I found that making my own work had dwindled to almost nothing. I have actively chosen to spend my time with my kids while they are young as I feel that that it hugely benefits them, it is very rewarding for me in many ways and I didn't want to regret missing the experience later in life. But it has meant that I have had neither the mental nor physical space (let alone the energy) to create anything for myself. As a result I was becoming frustrated and disappointed in myself. My identity as an artist felt fraudulent, and I felt I was losing myself in the hugely absorbing, but relentless machine of managing the needs of our family. Now that I am back in London and my eldest has just started school, I come to Motherhouse with Molly (my 2 year old) on a Tuesday between the hours of school drop off and pick up. It's a relatively small window of time but with huge consequences. I am now painting again (and not only in the hours at motherhouse). I feel connected to a group of artists who share the same challenges and that has been transformative in the way I have begun to think about myself again, and the way I am thinking about new ways to make work (given the challenges of time). And I have found it incredibly rewarding to share all of this with Molly. Hearing her giggling and singing while I make work, and seeing her glee as she comes to show me her hands and feet covered in paint while I am painting myself, makes me realise I do not have to compromise between her needs and mine. I think it's important for her to see me as an artist as well as a mother, but it isn't something that takes me away from her or that she has to compete with. In fact we both come away from Motherhouse stimulated, energised and satisfied. And importantly to me, we've done it together." Jessica Blandford - Visual artist
The Mother House idea is born in response to the urge of “making” within the life-changing experience of motherhood, offering a collaborative yet intimate space to curate your practice whilst ensuring your journey into motherhood is fed in a creative and inclusive way. The Model facilitates integration and exchange with the Mothers’ art practice, bringing the child's development closer to art. Crucially, children learn about women's roles outside the domestic environment.
The vision is to establish the model over the UK and offer this great model to different communities.
The Mother House Stroud Pilot will take place on Mondays to Fridays from 9:30am to 4pm at the Nailsworth Town Hall and will run from Monday 7th until Friday 18th Aug. For further information visit motherhousestudios.com and for bookings contact firstname.lastname@example.org